Dieter Döpfer began developing audio hardware with a Voltage Controlled Phaser (VCP) module for the Formant, a do-it-yourself-kit analog synthesizer from Elektor magazine in 1977. Several legendary modular synths followed while Döpfer also focused on the development of MIDI equipment during the 1980s.
In 1992, Doepfer Musikelektronik GmbH released the MIDI analog sequencer MAQ16/3 which was designed in cooperation with Kraftwerk. In the beginning, the company had direct sales and interested musicians would receive a demonstration by visiting other customers since the modular systems were deemed too difficult for typical music shop employees to demonstrate. Facing greater publicity, Doepfer shifted the distribution to specialized points of sales.